First Citizens: Supporting National Heritage at the Great Train Hike!
Hike Barbados remains one of the more well-attended initiatives of the Barbados National Trust, an organisation working to preserve places of historic, architectural, archaeological and ecological importance in Barbados. The organisation first started the Hike Barbados event in 1983, and participation has grown from 12 hikers to over 8,000 persons annually. On Sunday, Feb 10, Barbadians and visitors alike flocked to the annual Colin Hudson Memorial Great Train Hike, one of the more popular hikes of the Hike Barbados programme.
Mr. William Gollop, General Manager of the Barbados National Trust, highlighted that the hike’s growing popularity is linked both to its fun, welcoming atmosphere and the rich heritage of the trail line.
“This year’s Great Train Hike went very well. Just over 200 participants came out to take part in the trail,” said Gollop. “Participants were gathering as early as 4:30 a.m., and by the official 6 a.m. start, we had over 100 people gathered to start the hike, including a group of about 30 cyclists. It was certainly a highly successful event.”
The hike, which lasted from 6 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., followed Barbados’ old train line from Fairchild Street in Bridgetown to Belleplaine, St. Andrew. Individuals were able to ‘board’ or ‘exit’ the hike at six historic stops along the route, making the trail a more manageable experience for first time hikers. Of course, there was also a competitive spirit brewing on the day. Hiker Leonard Best came out on top as the first to complete the route, with Dillan Hoyte (2nd place) and Troy Phillips (3rd place) following behind.
As the crowd of mixed ages, nationalities and professional backgrounds soaked in the rich heritage and scenery of the route, the Barbados National Trust’s aim to highlight Barbados rich historical and ecological heritage was fulfilled in exciting fashion. Glyne Harrison, CEO of First Citizens Bank (Barbados), title sponsors of the Great Train Hike annual event, was especially happy to note its increasing popularity.
“This is the third year we’ve partnered with the Barbados National Trust,” said Harrison. “The Bank recognises the importance of sociocultural activities such as the Barbados National Trust’s hikes and is committed to ensuring that Barbadians and visitors continue to be afforded the opportunity to experience the intellectual, cultural and health benefits of hiking across Barbados with the Trust.”